Father Pierre-Marie Mermier
Father Pierre-Marie Mermier was born on 28 August 1790 in Vouray in the parish of Chaumont en Genevois in Savoy. On 21 March 1813 he was ordained a priest.
Father Pierre-Marie Mermier was an austere priest of unbounded zeal. But most people were indifferent to Catholic Faith and practices, due to the influence of Jansenism, Gallicanism and the French Revolution. With a view to enliven the people in true faith he went from parish to parish, staying from four to six weeks in each. He prayed, preached and motivated the people to build up their faith. A few more priests joined his mission of preaching.
He felt the need to establish a missionary congregation to carry out the preaching ministry. On 24 October 1838 Bishop Rey issued an official document giving canonical approval to the Congregation founded by Father Pierre-Marie Mermier known as the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales.
He founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales for
- parish mission
- foreign mission and
- education of the youth.
His missionary zeal impelled him to ask the Holy Father for a mission abroad and accept a vast mission territory in India, where the Congregation was in its infancy with just eleven professed members. The missionaries came to India in 1845. Father Pierre-Marie Mermier died on 30 September 1862.
Now there are about 1.300 Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales serving the Church in 28 countries throughout the world.